Councillors call for urgent talks to reinstate 24-hour care on Portree
HIGHLAND councillors supporting the reinstatement of round-the- clock emergency cover on Skye are calling for urgent talks with Health Minister Shona Robison.
Four island councillors and council leader Margaret Davidson want to reinstate 24/ 7 NHS emergency cover in Portree and north Skye.
The councillors also have the support of members in Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh.
The council agreed to approach the Cabinet Secretary following a motion from Skye councillors Callum MacLeod, Ronald MacDonald and John Gordon to the local authority at its meeting on June 29.
It stated: ‘The people of Skye and Raasay have widespread unease about the NHS Highland redesign process with many key questions remaining unanswered.
‘Since these unanswered questions relate literally to life and death issues, we ask the Highland Council to approach the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Shona Robison, to meet with the leader of Highland Council and with the four Skye councillors on behalf of the Isle of Skye and Raasay Committee.’
Communities in Skye, Lochalsh and South West Ross are served by Dr MacKinnon’s in Broadford and Portree Community Hospital.
The preferred option for a major redesign of services included co-locating all the in-patient beds in a new hospital in Broadford.
NHS Highland chairman David Alston said more than 50 meetings took place during a three-month consultation about the re- design and a survey was delivered to every home and business in the area.
Of the more than 2,000 people who responded, 80 per cent supported the preferred model of service.
The poll also found 57 per cent also favoured Broadford as the preferred location for the new hospital, compared to 29 per cent who supported it to be built in Portree.
The Cabinet Secretary, in her response to the board in February 2015, noted she had ‘carefully considered the proposals’ and was ‘content’ to approve the board’s proposals.
Since then, the Scottish Government has approved the initial agreement which is a key step to securing a significant investment of around £15 million for the area.
Responding to the motion on 24-hour emergency care, Mr Alston said NHS Highland’s position is ‘ very clear’.
He said: ‘The service provided from Portree Community Hospital is a GP-led minor injury unit (MIU). It has never had an accident and emergency unit as nationally recognised. There are only four in NHS Highland.
‘The MIU operates seven days a week between 8am to 11pm. There were no proposals to change this service as part of the re- design and none are planned.’
The health board chairman said he has been in touch with councillors recently: ‘I have been in communication with the councillors to discuss the various issued raised and have offered to meet with them. However, they feel this is unlikely to be productive, but the offer to meet still stands.’